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1 Aberdeen City Council Internal Audit Report Final Contract management arrangements within Social Care & Wellbeing 2013/2014 for Aberdeen City Council January 2014 Internal Audit KPI Targets Target Dates Actual Dates Red/Amber/ Green Commentary where applicable Terms or reference agreed 4 weeks prior to fieldwork 20/05/ /06/2013 Red Delay in finalising scope and targeted areas of risk Planned fieldwork start date 17/06/ /06/2013 Green Fieldwork completion date 05/07/ /07/2013 Green Issuing draft reports for management 19/07/ /07/2013 Green comment Received management comments 05/08/2013 (draft 1) 12/08/2014 (draft 2) 04/10/2013 (draft 3) 05/08/2013 (draft 1) 27/09/2013 (draft 2) 20/12/2013 (draft 3) Red Delay caused by changes in Director of S,C&W post in interim period Report finalised 27/12/2013 (final) 05/01/2014 (final) Red Delay caused by Christmas annual leave Final report presented to the Audit and Risk Committee 27/02/ /02/2014 Green

2 Contents Section Page 1. Executive Summary 3 2. Background and scope 7 3. Detailed findings and recommendations 9 Appendix 1 Basis of our classifications 13 Appendix 2 Terms of reference 18 Appendix 3 - Limitations and responsibilities 21 This report has been prepared solely for Aberdeen City Council in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in our engagement letter 4 th October We do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any other purpose or to any other party. This report should not be disclosed to any third party, quoted or referred to without our prior written consent. Internal audit work will be performed in accordance with Public Sector Internal Audit Standards. As a result, our work and deliverables are not designed or intended to comply with the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), International Framework for Assurance Engagements (IFAE) and International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) Internal Audit report for Aberdeen City Council PwC Contents

3 1. Executive Summary Report classification Total number of findings Section 3 Critical High Medium Low Advisory High Risk Control design Operating effectiveness Total Summary of findings 1.01 The Social Care and Wellbeing (SCWB) Commissioning and Contracts team currently operates separately from the Central Procurement Unit (CPU) and is responsible for the contracting and procurement of social care services (as well as commissioning services). The team at present consists of 8.5 full-time employees, although three employees were only recently employed in the last six months Guidance published by the Scottish Government in September 2010 entitled procurement of care and support services set out that public bodies should decide on a case by case basis, whether or not to advertise a service defined as part B service and a number of factors will influence this decision including: the application of procurement rules, policy and risk of legal challenge, the application of local financial regulations and standing orders; and the benefits and risks to service users and service delivery. A paper was presented to the Audit and Risk Committee in April 2013, recognising these challenges and setting out at a high level the overall context in which Social Care and Wellbeing operated We have undertaken a review of the design and operating effectiveness of the Council s contract procurement and management arrangements within its Social Care and Wellbeing directorate. Our work was undertaken using interviews and documentation reviews (reviewing a sample of higher value contracts extracted from the current contracts register) during June and July In particular we have sought assurance around SCWB s operation of controls over Tendering and award of contracts; Use of existing framework agreements locally and nationally; Clear demonstration that value for money is achieved through the procurement process; and Effective contract administration to ensure up to date data is maintained and compliance with internal and external requirements both in terms of recognised best practice and legal compliance. 3

4 1.04 Overall our review identified 3 recommendations, all classified as high risk. Overall controls in this area need to be further developed and strengthened in order to protect the Council from associated legal risks. In particular our review highlighted: The absence of a contracts register which is considered fit for purpose and in line with the Council requirements of what a contracts register should include; Through our sample testing of 25 contracts we identified a number of instances where an up to date contract could not be identified, examples where services were not subject to tender but in these instances could not be traced to an exemption from tender approval, a number of situations where implied contracts were in place, and therefore not supported by an up to date contract; and The exemption to tender process could be made more robust and contain further evidence to support the exemption and improve the decision making process. Council Officers have agreed to the 3 recommendations set out, with agreed implementation timescales and a further management response as set out below. Management comments 3.01 Lack of a Contract Register which meets Council requirements It is accepted that at the time of the Audit data held within the register required a basic consistency check. This has now been completed and the service is confident that data held is up to date. The service has for some time been developing new approaches to recording, specifically in terms of the Contract Register held by Social Care & Wellbeing. The previous database in use by the Team up until September 2012 was no longer fit for purpose and the decision was made to set up an interim register in Microsoft Excel. Subsequently the directorate made enquiries into what bespoke Contract Management software was available and early 2013 a new system was obtained that fully integrates with Care First, the main data recording tool used by Social Care & Wellbeing. Work is on-going with stakeholders across Social Care & Wellbeing and Social Work Finance. Implementation of the new database is expected Spring For each service engaged in the delivery of care and support in the 2012/13 financial year information is available in the register that outlines the spend on each commissioned service for that period. Although it has been noted that little data exists in the Contact Value Column for the purposes of noting contract value this information does exist within the Service Spend column albeit in a different area in the register. Service delivery is largely dependent on the needs of local people. Of 918 services referenced in the report, approximately 570 were dormant services, not currently used in the 2012/13 financial year, a large number of which however could be used in future. Notwithstanding this since the audit the live register has been cut down to 452 services. Dormant services have been placed in a separate Contracts Register. At the time of the Audit, every service that was spot purchased in the 2012/13 period had an accurate value noted against it. The contracts register does comply fully with Standing Order 15(1). It holds additional information than would not normally be required from a Contract Register. As such there is no current need for the register to record data regarding payments made to account and total payments on the contract. To do this would involve the duplication and double recording of data already held by finance. Since the Audit, steps have been taken to ensure that finance can provide this information to the Central Procurement Unit on a quarterly basis. Section 2.08 of this report represents a misinterpretation of Standing Order 15(1) 4

5 3.02 Application of Controls Services Database Sample Testing In May 2013 a report was provided to Members (SCW/13/016) detailing the process for, and implications of, implied contracts held between the Council and providers of Social Care Services within Social Care and Wellbeing. The report highlighted the need to balance the risk to the Council of challenge against the potentially adverse effect of the processes on individuals within the care sector. While it is accepted that a number of services in the Contract Register currently have an implied contract, there are a number of work streams on-going to ensure that these contracts are renewed. Examples of on-going work include both the Mental Health and Learning Disability Re-Commissioning Projects. Current work projections indicate that by the end of 2014 over 80% of commissioned services shall have a contract in place. In terms of providing care and support to the people of Aberdeen, the priority is in ensuring the most appropriate person-centred support is available and consequently, more of the same is not always the most appropriate approach. Therefore to ensure the development of innovative and needs led services resource is often prioritised in the area of service re-design rather than renewing an existing contract on a like for like basis. In 2014 the Council will be one Scottish Local Authority taking the lead in terms of implementing Self Directed Support contracting arrangements. This has involved a great degree of partnership working across the Council, and while it has taken time to ensure the approach is robust this has also meant that previous contracts have not been renewed. While it is noted that it is beneficial to have a contract for the provision of services in place with a service provider the agreed action at 3.02 represents a purist approach to contracting. To cease engaging in service delivery with a service provider due to contract expiry would not be putting the needs of vulnerable service users at the heart of the process, and would potentially put people at risk while causing distress. In practice, where service continues to be delivered for a period of time the last known contract terms may be referred to should any disputes or complications arise Exemption to Tender Design Effectiveness When Social Care & Wellbeing seeks an exemption to Standing Orders a report is provided to Members outlining detail of the service. Particular attention is drawn to highlighting special circumstances for the exemption. This report acts as evidence that the exemption was requested, detail of the reason for the request and where approved by Committee, evidence that the exemption was approved. Should Members be of the view that such reports could contain a greater level of detail regarding decision making this can be provided at the next request for exemption and on an on-going basis. The report highlights that 14 out of 25 services sampled received an approved exemption to standing orders from the requirement to be competitively tendered. The majority of these exemptions were requested not due to the perceived lack of an alternative service provider, but to allow further development and service design work to take place in partnership with people who receive support. In some cases the justification for exemption was to allow the Council time to consider membership of a National Contract where the tender process was at that time incomplete. Officers are of the view that having had Committee approval for such measures, that any concerns over the risks to the Council were being fully explored and ratified. On 11 th December 2013 Nicola Sturgeon made an announcement to the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee regarding the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill. This announcement related to the fact that it is the intention of Government to lodge an amendment at stage 2 of the Bill to exempt health and social care contracts from the provisions in the bill that relate to advertising and competition. This is reality would provide local authorities more flexibility to manage the procurement of health and social care services through their own local governance arrangements. 5

6 As highlighted above there are a number of work streams in progress that will ensure that cost effective, high quality and innovative service is delivered to those who require care and support in Aberdeen. To provide members with more context Officers would be happy to provide a succinct report detailing this activity to the next Social Care & Wellbeing Committee. 6

7 2. Background and scope Background 2.01 The Social Care and Wellbeing (SCWB) Commissioning and Contracts team currently operates separately from the Central Procurement Unit (CPU) and is responsible for the contracting and procurement of social care services (as well as commissioning services). The team at present consists of 8.5 full-time employees although three employees were only recently employed in the last six months Guidance published by the Scottish Government in September 2010 entitled procurement of care and support services set out that public bodies should decide on a case by case basis, whether or not to advertise a service defined as part B service and a number of factors will influence this decision including: the application of procurement rules, policy and risk of legal challenge, the application of local financial regulations and standing orders; and the benefits and risks to service users and service delivery. A paper was presented to the Audit and Risk Committee in April 2013, recognising these challenges and setting out at a high level the overall context in which Social Care and Wellbeing operated. Tendering and contract award within SCWB 2.03 In terms of procurement, the SCWB Commissioning and Contracts team is solely focused on the tendering and contract award of services classified as Part B services in the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations The tendering and contract award process at Aberdeen City Council is governed by the Council s Standing Orders Relating to Contracts and Procurement approved by the Council on 30 June 2010, this includes services which are classified as Part B services in the regulations The Council s Standing Orders require that for all contracts with an estimated value of more than 60,000 (for supplies/services) or 75,000 (for works), or for contracts for more than one year, that a tender process should be performed in accordance with Part A of the Standing Orders. Exceptions to this process for the contracting and procurement of social care services are documented in Part B of the Standing Orders and the Council has specified the specific requirements and approvals needed in order to invoke these exceptions. In all other cases in order to be exempt from the requirement to tender approval must be obtained from the Council and the exemption must be justified by special circumstances. Framework agreements 2.05 The use of external frameworks and contracts by Aberdeen City Council is governed by Standing Order 21(1). This Standing Order requires that the SCWB commissioning team must obtain prior written approval of the Head of Legal and Democratic Services and the Head of Procurement before purchasing via an approved external framework or contract Specific exemptions are provided to Standing Order 21(1) in Part B of the Standing Orders for the use of residential/nursing home care under SO 28. The use of this exemption requires the approval of the Director of Social Care and Wellbeing and the Head of Legal and Democratic Services. 7

8 Demonstration of value for money 2.07 Value for money should ideally be evidenced through routinely tendering for services to assess the market place and to determine that the best service is being provided for the best price. When a service is not tendered for (through use of approved frameworks or Standing Orders Part B exemption) there should be mitigating controls or arrangements in place to ensure that value for money is evidenced formally. The paper presented to the Audit and Risk Committee in April set out a series of circumstances over how the Council seeks to demonstrate value for money through Social Care contracts (Part B services) including: shape of the current market and local providers and availability of service providers, property arrangements, if the investment is time limited from the Scottish Government and there is a risk that the funding is lost due to the procurement time process, and intentions of partner Authorities and whether alternative options are there. It is accepted, in the case of Social Care and Wellbeing contracting (Part B) value for money could be demonstrated through a variety of means, as well as the option to competitively tender, however it is important that this thought process is logical and clearly set out and evidenced. Administration and monitoring of contracts 2.08 Standing Order 15 sets out the requirements for administration and monitoring of contracts. The SCWB Commissioning and Contracts Manager is required by the standing orders to maintain a Contract Register with specific details of the value or amount of each contract (if identifiable), all payments made to account and the total payments made on the contract. This information should be regularly updated on an ongoing basis and communicated to the Head of Procurement at the CPU on a quarterly basis, although it is noted that the nature of this communication is not currently formally set out. Scope and limitations of scope 2.09 The detailed scope of this review is set out in Appendix 2. We have undertaken a review of the design and operating effectiveness of the Council s contract procurement and management arrangements within its Social Care and Wellbeing directorate. Our work was undertaken using interviews and documentation reviews (reviewing a sample of higher value contracts extracted from the current contracts register) during June and July In particular we have sought assurance around SCWB s operation of controls over Tendering and award of contracts; Use of existing framework agreements locally and nationally; Clear demonstration that value for money is achieved through the procurement process; and Effective contract administration to ensure up to date data is maintained and compliance with internal and external requirements both in terms of recognised best practice and legal compliance See agreed terms of reference at Appendix 2. 8

9 3. Detailed findings and recommendations 3.01 Lack of a SCWB Contract register which meets Council requirements design/operating deficiency Finding SCWB maintain a service database which records all the services provided, including one off services, previous suppliers, current suppliers and also arrangements where tendering is ongoing. However, recognising ICT support for the access database, data has been transferred onto an excel based register. This excel based register acts as the SCWB Contracts Register. At the time of review the excel based register listed around 900 services; although it is noted approximately 348 were used or actively engaged with during the 2012/13 financial year. From a review of the listing we noted that there is additional information in here, which is not required in a contract register, equally certain contracts information required within the contracts register should be included. Specifically our analysis of the excel based listing revealed the following: Of the 348 active services recorded in the spreadsheet only 10 services had details recorded in the contract value column; 33 services were stated as having a signed contract in place but only one had any data in the spreadsheet detailing the contract value; Of the same 33, five had no contract start/end date recorded or contract duration data; 17 services were identified as having a contract draft in progress of which six had contract start dates of 1 April 2012 indicating the contract was completed; 174 services were identified as operating through implied contracts. 35 of these had unique contract name identifiers indicating a contract had previously existed but no details of those contracts were recorded in the database; In total 749 services recorded in the spreadsheet had no details of contract start or end dates (so difficult to understand when a contract ended and was no longer applicable compared with those that are active) and 918 had no details of contract value; None of the services recorded had any data regarding payments made to account and the total payments on the contract. Although it is noted that for every service in the listing that was in use during the financial year 2012/13 a figure was present that represented spend on each particular service for that financial year. Following discussion with SCWB staff it was noted in certain cases services are subject to spot purchases. Therefore, no identifiable contract value. However, it is important that this information is reflected so the team can understand the value the Council is getting from these spot purchases and to ensure spot purchases are used appropriately. 9

10 As a result, the Contract Register (service database) as currently maintained does not record all of the contract information as required by Standing Order 15(1). This is acknowledged by management and management are in the process of procuring an alternative system to support the creation of a contracts register. Risks The detail in the service register may not be sufficient to meet the definition or requirements of the contracts register. Contracts data may be incomplete or inaccurate and difficult to interpret. Action plan Finding rating Agreed action Responsible person / title High SCWB will review whether the current service database can be amended to ensure all detail required per the Council s standing orders for a contract register can be met. If this database cannot fulfil the purpose of a contracts register, a clear, accurate and complete contracts register will be created and a process established to ensure this is maintained on a regular basis. Social Care and Wellbeing Service Manager Target date: Immediate. Implementation of the new register May

11 3.02 Application of Controls Services Database sample testing Finding To provide a more detailed view on the contracting position we undertook a review of 25 higher value services for 2012/13 as included in the Service database. Appendix 1 to this report shows the outcomes of our work. We noted the following - For two services with a combined service spend in 2012/2013 of 0.7million we identified that there was no contract in place, meaning the service provider is in breach of the requirements of the Council s standing orders to have written contracts in place. However, it was identified though that for both services an exemption to tender had been approved by the Committee. For three services with a combined service spend in 2012/2013 of 1.4million the services had not been tendered for (although it is noted that two of the services had been in use prior to the implementation of the 2006 Regulations and the 2010 Standing Orders). Additionally, the SCWB Committee has not approved any exemption to tender for these services and none of the three services are provided under contract. For two services with a combined service spend in 2012/2013 of 2million we identified that the services had not been tendered for and that the Social Care and Wellbeing Committee had not approved any exemption to tender for these services. However, a written contract was in place with the service providers. For four services procured via National Contracts, with a combined service spend in 2012/2013 of 2.8million, we identified that they had not been approved by the Head of Procurement and Head of Legal and Democratic Services as required by the Council s standing orders. Following discussion with SCWB staff it was noted that although this is required per standing orders this was not noted as being routine practice. In addition, correspondence for 2 of the 4 services procured via National Contracts was obtained following on from an internal audit request, although this did not constitute a formal sign off by the Head of Legal and Democratic Services, more correspondence with the Council s legal team and one for noting, not approval. For ten services with a combined service spend in 2012/2013 of 8.4million we identified that the contract with the service provider had expired and no new written contract had been agreed. Additionally, no formal written contract extensions had been agreed with the service providers and was therefore are in breach of the Council s standing orders. It was noted that all ten services had an exemption to tender from the Committee and that Committee had also approved the extension of these contracts until such a time as they could be tendered. (see 3.03) Risks The Council may be subject to potential areas of legal challenge, may not achieve best value from its contracting, and may have implied contracts which could impact on the Council s reputation and lead to legal concerns. 11

12 Action plan Finding rating Agreed action Responsible person / title Risk rating: High Contracts will be put in place for all services procured. Where a service has not been tendered, a clear rationale and support for this decision will be retained as evidence, and be complete and easily accessible. Where a Committee approves a contract extension, this will always be followed up with the agreement and formalisation of a contract. Where a contract expires, that is yet to be tendered or the contract extension in place a clear protocol will be in place, which considers how the service manages any risks to the Council, including an approvals process, whilst continuing to provide the service. Social Care and Wellbeing Service Manager Target date: Work is ongoing per normal procedures to ensure recommendations are met so variable timetable 12

13 3.03 Exemption to tender design effectiveness Finding Our review identified 14 out of our sample of 25 contracts where the Committee had approved exemptions to tender. Under the standing orders the Council does have the power to exempt a contract from the requirements of the standing orders provided that the exemption is justified by special circumstances. However, 14 out of 25 is a significant proportion of procured services. In the majority of cases an exemption from tender was requested due to the lack of alternative service provider. However, detailed evidence to support this position was not retained or could be formally evidenced. Risks Where exemptions to tender are awarded sufficient supporting documentation may not be retained to evidence the thought process and decision making. Action plan Finding rating Agreed action Responsible person / title Risk rating: High- Clear protocols will be formalised for the use of exemptions, including the criteria to allow exemption from tendering and these protocols will include a set of evidence which needs to be collated and included within the relevant Committee paper. Robust challenge as part of this key Governance control will be evident, with sufficient supporting evidence retained to support the detail set out in the Committee paper. Social Care and Wellbeing Service Manager Target Date: Immediate. Reports will contain more detail on decision making depending on Committee sanction. 13

14 Appendix 1 Summary of testing results 14

15 15

16 Appendix 2 Basis of our classifications Individual finding ratings Finding rating Assessment rationale Critical A finding that could have a: Critical impact on operational performance; or Critical monetary or financial statement impact; or Critical breach in laws and regulations that could result in material fines or consequences; or Critical impact on the reputation or brand of the organisation which could threaten its future viability. High A finding that could have a: Significant impact on operational performance; or Significant monetary or financial statement impact ; or Significant breach in laws and regulations resulting in significant fines and consequences ; or Significant impact on the reputation or brand of the organisation. Medium A finding that could have a: Moderate impact on operational performance; or Moderate monetary or financial statement impact; or Moderate breach in laws and regulations resulting in fines and consequences; or Moderate impact on the reputation or brand of the organisation. Low A finding that could have a: Minor impact on the organisation s operational performance; or Minor monetary or financial statement impact; or Minor breach in laws and regulations with limited consequences; or Minor impact on the reputation of the organisation. Advisory A finding that does not have a risk impact but has been raised to highlight areas of inefficiencies or good practice. 16

17 Report classifications Findings rating Critical Points 40 points per finding Report classification Low risk Points 6 points or less High 10 points per finding Medium risk 7 15 points Medium 3 points per finding High risk points Low 1 point per finding Critical risk 40 points and over 17

18 Appendix 3 Terms of reference Background The Central Procurement Unit (CPU) operates for both Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council and oversees the tendering process at both Councils. Aberdeen City Council has a Standing Order for contracts and procurement which must be followed across all Council Directorates. To date the CPU has had limited involvement and visibility over Social Care and Wellbeing contracts as this is done by a separate Commissioning and Contracts team based within the Directorate. Recently, the Audit & Risk Committee requested a report associated with implied contracts. The CPU has also been requested to assist with the delivery of a joint commissioning of contracts savings option as part of the Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) process. To fulfil these tasks contracts information is required from Social Care and Wellbeing, in order to determine nature of contracts, the risks associated with implied contracts and a complete, accurate and up to date contracts register. Overall, concerns have been identified with respect to SCWB record keeping, completeness, accuracy and availability of information. As a result an internal audit has been requested (for inclusion in the plan) to focus on key aspects of SCWB contract arrangements, in particular the nature of the contracting arrangements in place. Scope The objective of this review will be to consider the design and operating effectiveness of the Council s contract management, and related procurement arrangements within Social Care and Wellbeing only, recognising the potential risks in this area: Sub-process Control objectives Tendering and contract award within SCWB The tendering procedure has been used for all applicable contracts with an estimated value of more than 60,000 (for supplies/services) or 75,000 (for works), or for contracts of more than one year. Tenders are evaluated in a transparent and consistent manner Contracts, including terms and conditions, are agreed with the supplier prior to any procurement expenditure being incurred in relation to those contracts, and there is clarity over contract end dates and contract extensions, which are subject to the 18

19 appropriate approval process Contracts which have been categorised as Part B of the Standing Orders (and hence have not been tendered for) meet the definition and criteria as contained in Standing Orders 27 to 31 and arrangements are in place to evaluate value for money, risks to the council and appropriate approval processes are in place Framework Agreements The use of Framework agreements is in line with policies and procedures Any Framework agreements have been authorised by the Head of Procurement and the Head of Legal and Democratic Services A register of Framework agreements and contracts is held and is up to date Demonstration of value for money Where an implied contract is in place, this has been assessed to consider the risks to the Council (reputational and legal), mitigating arrangements established Arrangements are in place to ensure value for money/best value can be demonstrated where a supplier is continued to be used either via a contract extension or an implied contract Contracts are routinely tendered to assess the market place and the service is being provided for the best price Administration and monitoring of contracts There is a contract register in place for all contracts and is in line with 15(1) of the Standing Orders. Processes are in place to ensure this register is maintained and is kept up to date (complete/accurate/monitored) Information in relation to the contract register is sent to the CPU on a quarterly basis Limitations of scope The scope of our review is outlined above. Testing will be undertaken on an extended sample basis focused on Social Care and Wellbeing, including considering 19

20 the procurement method, date last tendered, contract status and level of purchasing with the suppliers. Audit approach Our audit approach is as follows: Obtain an understanding of the policy and procedures for contract management and procurement through discussions with key personnel and review of the relevant procedures, including a walkthrough of the process Identify the key risks in relation to the areas reviewed such as failure to follow procurement policy, risks associated with implied contracts, risks of continuing to spend money with suppliers who have not been subject to a competitive tender process including the risks associated with best value and value for money. Evaluate the design of the controls in place to address the key risks Test the operating effectiveness of the key controls across Social Care and Wellbeing for an extended number of contracts selected on a sample basis, taking into account risk and materiality. 20

21 Appendix 4 - Limitations and responsibilities Limitations inherent to the internal auditor s work We have undertaken a review of Social Care & Wellbeing contracts, subject to the limitations outlined below. Internal control Internal control, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable and not absolute assurance regarding achievement of an organisation's objectives. The likelihood of achievement is affected by limitations inherent in all internal control systems. These include the possibility of poor judgment in decision-making, human error, control processes being deliberately circumvented by employees and others, management overriding controls and the occurrence of unforeseeable circumstances. Future periods Our assessment of controls relating to Social Care & Wellbeing is as at July Historic evaluation of effectiveness is not relevant to future periods due to the risk that: the design of controls may become inadequate because of changes in operating environment, law, regulation or other; or The degree of compliance with policies and procedures may deteriorate. Responsibilities of management and internal auditors It is management s responsibility to develop and maintain sound systems of risk management, internal control and governance and for the prevention and detection of irregularities and fraud. Internal audit work should not be seen as a substitute for management s responsibilities for the design and operation of these systems. We endeavour to plan our work so that we have a reasonable expectation of detecting significant control weaknesses and, if detected, we shall carry out additional work directed towards identification of consequent fraud or other irregularities. However, internal audit procedures alone, even when carried out with due professional care, do not guarantee that fraud will be detected. Accordingly, our examinations as internal auditors should not be relied upon solely to disclose fraud, defalcations or other irregularities which may exist. 21

22 In the event that, pursuant to a request which Aberdeen City Council has received under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (as the same may be amended or re-enacted from time to time) or any subordinate legislation made thereunder (collectively, the Legislation ), Aberdeen City Council is required to disclose any information contained in this document, it will notify PwC promptly and will consult with PwC prior to disclosing such document. Aberdeen City Council agrees to pay due regard to any representations which PwC may make in connection with such disclosure and to apply any relevant exemptions which may exist under the Legislation. If, following consultation with PwC, Aberdeen City Council discloses any this document or any part thereof, it shall ensure that any disclaimer which PwC has included or may subsequently wish to include in the information is reproduced in full in any copies disclosed. This document has been prepared for the intended recipients only. To the extent permitted by law, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP does not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any use of or reliance on this document by anyone, other than (i) the intended recipient to the extent agreed in the relevant contract for the matter to which this document relates (if any), or (ii) as expressly agreed by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP at its sole discretion in writing in advance PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. All rights reserved. 'PricewaterhouseCoopers' refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (a limited liability partnership in the United Kingdom) or, as the context requires, other member firms of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.

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